If your grass has dead spots this year, we know they can be frustrating. While the rest of your grass might be healthy and green, large dead spots in lawns can have you scratching your head in frustration.
The good news is, knowing what causes brown dead spots in grass is half the battle in getting your lawn back to good health. Once you’ve determined the cause, planting grass in dead spots is simple and can be done in just a few easy steps.
Brown spots in lawns are a hassle, but they don’t have to be this year!
First, why do I have dead spots in my grass? What causes dead spots in grass?
Asking “why do I have dead spots in my lawn” is important for properly troubleshooting the issue. In order to ensure brown dead spots in lawns never come back, you first have to determine what caused them.
There are several reasons you might have dead patches of grass on your lawn. More than likely, something has affected the roots or blades of your grass, or for some reason, you have a nutrient imbalance or deficiency in your soil. Here are some common triggers for round dead spots on lawns in the Northeast:
1. Your grass roots are damaged from pest infestation. Often, grubs and other grass-eating pests are what cause those random dead spots in grass. Grubs eat the grassroots, so generally, yellow dead spots in lawns are the first indication of damaged roots. Once the roots are severely damaged, the grass layer will lift easily away from the Earth, and those yellow spots will quickly turn brown.
2. You have a turf disease below the surface. Another cause of dead patches in your grass might be turf disease. Turf diseases like Rhizoctonia Solani and snow mold cause too much or too little moisture to accumulate beneath the surface, causing root rot or fungal diseases.
3. Your grass has sustained a chemical burn. Chemical burns happen when a cleaning product, gasoline, or even de-icing product gets spilled on your lawn. Sometimes, there is no easy way to clean up chemical spills. If you chose to, you’d probably need to dig a few feet into the soil anyway, defending on what chemical has been spilled. Either way, chemical spills on your grass and accumulating de-icing products are almost guaranteed to cause brown dead patches of grass.
4. Pet urine has affected the nutrient balance of the soil. Repeated urination from your pet or certain wild animals can also be the cause of your lawn care headache. When animals urinate in the same spot repeatedly, it causes an accumulation of compounds and chemical elements that affect your soil’s nutrient balance. An imbalance in the nutrients your grass needs means your grass is more likely to die in these areas.
5. You’ve added too much fertilizer. For the same reason as the chemical spill and pet urine, adding too much fertilizer to your lawn can also cause dead spots. Too much fertilizer will change the nutrient profile of your soil, causing grass to turn brown and dry in those places where too much fertilizer has been applied.
6. Your watering pattern is missing some spots. This is especially likely if you have a new sprinkler system. Be sure to check that your sprinklers are watering all parts of your lawn. If the dead patch is halfway between one sprinkler and the next, it’s possible that neither is reaching that area with the water it needs. If you’re watering manually, be sure that you’re paying equal attention to all parts of your lawn. For more on how to properly water your lawn, check out this handy resource.
Addressing dead grass causes before you replant
When you’ve figured out what’s causing your brown dead patches of grass, it’s important to clean up the area, address the soil health issues, and diagnose any lingering problems before you replant.
If you have a pest or turf disease problem, call us to do a soil health test and restore the proper nutrient balance to your soil. If your lawn is damaged from a chemical spill, pet urine, or excessive de-icing products, you’ll probably need to flush out the chemicals with daily watering. After a few weeks, the grass should be green again. If not, it probably needs to be replanted.
Planting grass in dead spots
Once you’ve determined the cause of dead spots in your lawn, your approach to replanting grass seed is relatively straightforward. In the case of grubs and some turf diseases, your grass will lift off of its roots. In these cases, compost the old grass layer and give the surface a good raking. Then, aerate the area or apply grass seed directly.
If you’ve treated your chemical or fertilizer-burned grass with over-watering and it hasn’t recovered, remove the dead grass with a heavy rake. Then, aerate or immediately reseed the area. Your green lawn should return within a few weeks.
If you’re not sure what’s causing the brown, dead patches on your lawn, get in touch with us. We’ll assess what’s causing the damage and help you treat it today.